The Creation of the Albanian State and its Relationship with Religious Communities: The Sanctioning of Religious Plurality as a Condition of National Unity

Erjon Papagjoni

Abstract


The Albanian state sanctioned after the Lushnja Congress in 1920 applied a liberal and wise policy to religious communities, aiming to create ethnic, social and national cohesion among the people through the recognition of the plurality of religious beliefs, their mutual respect, of correct relations with the state and the strengthening of national unity, according to the advanced conventions of modern European states. The new Albanian state committed itself to recognizing all the rights of religious communities in Albania so that they would normally practice their religious activity with all rituals and prayers according to their faith, dogmas, and sacred canons, enhancing spiritual influence in people. To provide legal support to four main religious communities - Muslim, Bektashi, Orthodox, and Catholic - the state sought the design and approval of the correspondent statutes of each religious community. The new political situation required that the new statutes include the need for the independence of religious communities from the type of their former legal structures and reports that they had under the Ottoman Empire. On the other hand, the Albanian state openly proclaimed its secular character in relation to religions. In the statutes of the four main religious communities, with their peculiarities, were included the rights and obligations to believers, the way of organizing hierarchy and clerical forums, the correct legal relations with the state, which ensured and guaranteed their normal functioning, education religious programs, schools at their various ranks, staff and administration, their wealth, their administration and publications, in order to realize the spiritual impacts and the educational power that religion aims to offers to the masses of believers (Albanian Encyclopaedia Dictionary, 2009).

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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)

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